Boy Between: Rough First Chapter TAKE 2!

Well, yesterday I put up the quickly dashed out and then un-revised first splurge of the novella I’m working on. A lot of it was probably terrible, but I thought I’d shove it out there anyway. Be impulsive. Later that night I actually found myself revising the thing already. Here’s a little of how the story now opens:

This sort of thing happens all the time.

More often than you’d think, really.

Wherever the dark night falls and tired eyes falter.

Sam didn’t know that of course, because no one really does. The only people who do are those who it’s already happened to, and who are they in a position to tell?

Sam could hear a voice.

He thought he could.

He was sure he did.

Had? Would do? Is right now?

Sunlight crept through curtains, his forehead creased, eyes tight.

A boys voice, wasn’t it? Yeah. Or? Was it actually a boy, or-

Sam needed the toilet. He turned over, legs curling up to meet his stomach.

Not just a voice..? Had he been alone all along? Brown hair. A conversation. Laughter. Running and running and laughter and secret signs and-

Sam blinked. Once. Twice. Again. The picture began to fall apart.

What had he been thinking about again? He tried to grasp it and pull it close, but it was like trying to hold smoke.

No use.

It fuzzed and warped and fell apart. Sam sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he yawned, expelling the night and inhaling the day.

It was gone again, but an idea remained. Itching. Persistent.

A voice.

I’m happier with that as a starting point. More mysterious, weird, suggestive. But I could fall into the trap of endlessly revising the first few chapters. The best thing to do is barrel forward, run until you get to the end, then start kicking it into shape, otherwise you could find yourself chasing your tail for way too long.

But that opening bothered me. I like an opening that feels secure and strong, so I’m happier sitting the rest of the story on the above words now. 

So that’s that, on with the rest of the thing, and no more looking back and picking through until it’s done.

@MattStottWrites

Boy Between: Rough First Chapter

rough

The writing has begun.

Last week was all about planning out the fourteen chapters of the novella I’m working on. The funnel starter for a little fantasy/horror series. Well. Maybe it’s more of a novelette. I’m aiming for it to be around fourteen thousand or so words. A quick read.

This week, I start to actually write the thing. Which is exciting. I won’t do this for the whole book, I don’t think, but I thought I’d pop up the first chapter. It’s pretty much unedited, only tweaked for spelling, so may very well be rough as hell. At the point of writing this post, I literally finished the chapter about five minutes ago. So this may be a terrible idea. You may read this and think ‘What a pile of bum-plop’, and you may well be right.

Ah well.

Be interesting, when I’ve finished and polished the whole book, to look back at this post and perhaps put up the chapter in its final form, see how it’s changed. Or how it hasn’t.

Anyway, here you go. Enjoy? I guess??

Boy Between: First Chapter, First Draft.

This sort of thing happens all the time. More often than you’d think, really. Wherever the dark night falls and tired eyes falter.

Sam didn’t know that of course, because no one really does. The only people who do are those who it’s already happened to, and who are they in a position to tell?

‘What voice?’ Asked Sam’s Mum, with her thin frizz hair and red plump face.

‘I don’t know.’ Said Sam, prodding with suspicion at the sickly grey mash on the plate before him. Sam wasn’t much more than a small boy, eight years old at best, though he’d swear blind he was touching nine to anyone who didn’t know better.

‘Well there either is a voice or there isn’t.’ Said Sam’s Dad, ‘And there isn’t. Obviously. But if there was and you’d heard it, you’d know what sort of voice it was. Seeing as there wasn’t one, you don’t. QED.’ His coal shovel hands straightened his newspaper by way of punctuation.

Sam attempted to push a small amount of the mash to the back of his throat, but failed to completely bypass his taste buds. ‘There was a voice. I think.’

‘Now just stop it,’ Said Mum, ‘You’re too old for monsters under the bed. Act your age.’

Dad peered over the top of his newspaper at Sam, eyes narrowed like he was examining a specimen in a lab. ‘You know I never believed in all that nonsense growing up. I had a straight head on my shoulders. Things that go bump in the night is for soft-brains.’ He snorted and straightened his paper again, eyes darting away from a squirming Sam at last.

Sam often got the feeling that his Dad didn’t really like him. Which was okay by him. You can’t like everyone. In fact, the feeling was pretty mutual. His Dad was too fierce and distant. Always talking about all the different medals he won as a kid, playing football, and rugby, and tennis, and swimming, and on, and on. He could’ve been the countries next sporting hero, the way he told it. As opposed to what he actually was. Which was… something to do with numbers. Money. In a bank, maybe. Something like that.

Not so much the sporty type now, he’d three chins and a stomach that sat over his belt, hanging down to obscure the buckle. Sam had once seen his Dad roaming the house in just his boxer shorts, his upper body was like a pink, bulbous fungus bursting from a pair of twigs. He was a heart attack in the making, Sam was sure of that. He’d thought about designing a health and fitness regime for him, even looked up a few routines and recipes, then realised he’d probably be much happier with just his Mum.

Sam successfully negotiated a mouthful past his taste buds, swallowing the cold, lumpen mass un-chewed and with a shiver as it went down.

‘A voice,’ Said Mum, shaking her head, ‘You know Val never gets any nonsense like this from her Todd.’

The blessed Todd. Sent by our Lord and Saviour to make Sam look like crap.

‘Fine boy, Todd,’ Said Dad, ‘Won the under tens rugby tournament almost singlehandedly last month, you know. Four tries and seven conversions. Seven! Fine boy, yes. Fine boy.’ Sam felt the narrowed eyes briefly slither over him before they returned to the news of the day.

‘Make anyone proud, a child like that.’ Said Mum, smiling wistfully, her eyes turned vacant as she looked into an unrealised reality.

Sam was under no illusions as to what his Mum thought of him. If his Dad seemed to resent him and his disinterest (and plain lack of ability) in sport, then his Mum had chosen a different path, settling into a comfortable disappointment. Sam could deal with being disappointing. You knew where you were with disappointing. Resentment was uneasy, threatening, violent, but disappointed was like a cosy blanket. He supposed that’s why he still loved his Mum. He could hardly blame her. He was disappointing.

‘Maybe there wasn’t a voice. I was probably just dreaming stuff.’ Said Sam.

‘You don’t say, genius.’ Said Dad, this time not bothering to drag his eyes away from the paper. Sam finished the rest of his tea in silence as his Mum regaled them with a story about how Todd had arrived home the previous Friday with a bunch of flowers for his Mum. ‘No reason, he’d just thought she’d like them..!’

Sam wished an early death upon Todd. Nothing too painful. He wasn’t a monster.

###

Sam slipped on his Batman pyjamas and checked again that the door was shut. He didn’t like it being open when he was in bed, who knows what could silently slip in as he slept, unguarded.

‘Things that go bump in the night is for soft-brains.’

Sam gave his Dad a mental middle-finger and checked again in the wardrobe. A rack of ironed shirts and trousers greeted him. No monsters.

Next he knelt by the bed, breathing in once or twice to settle his nerves before he ducked down sharply to see what lurked beneath. Nothing but an abandoned sock, a broken water pistol and a few books.

He stood and shook his head. Soft-Brain. He clambered under the cool covers, springs squeaking their complaint, and turned off the bedside lamp. Within minutes, sleep took him…

…That night Sam heard a voice,

and for as long as his eyes were closed,

he remembered.

@MattStottWrites

Boy Between: First Line

i am writing

A week or so back I posted my writing goals for 2015. Welp, things have already evolved since then and they don’t really hold true. That’s good, that’s fine, gotta keep moving. I suppose I’ll do a Writing Goals 2.0 post soon to keep things up to date. Maybe. Maybe not. IT’S MY SITE, I CAN DO WHAT I LIKE!

One thing that’s changed is my Indie Author goals. I had planned to focus on my ‘Fire’ series, but I’m now holding off on continuing that for a while. The reason for this is I already have two drafts of another novel completed, so it made sense to me to lean that way first. Polish that bad boy up, and then couple it with a few novella’s set in the same world to start a marketing funnel.

Work on the first novella started properly today. It’ll be the entry point to the world, the first step (either super cheap or free to download) that will point you in the direction of the longer work and then onto the second novella. Not that you really have to read them in that order, they’re all stand alone stories that happen to set foot in the same fantasy world.

So today I was planning out this initial novella. For the time being it’s called ‘Boy Between’, and is hopefully a rather creepy little tale. I even managed to toss down a first line. Love a first line. 

“This sort of thing happens all the time, you see.”

Wonder if that’ll stay in place for long?

So yes, we’re off. It’s been a slow start this year with lots of other writing work getting in the way, but finally I’m writing prose again. 

@MattStottWrites

2015 Writing Goals

goal-setting

NOPE, not resolutions or any easy to ignore baloney like that; GOALS.

I currently have my fingers in a lot of pies. Probably too many pies. Basically you can’t move round my gaff for all the bloomin’ pies piled up. I also have a full-time day job which, you know, is annoying. Especially when you are trying to do so many different things and you often only have weekends and a few hours in the evening (well, some evenings) to do it all in.

Baring all this in mind, I thought it would be useful for me to toss down what I would like to see happen this year. What I would like to achieve and how. This may very well be a dully-dull read for you, but I think it’ll be a useful exercise for me. SO TOUGH.

Scriptwriting

  • Have a pilot commissioned (Radio prob best bet)
  • Have prod/channel pick up our new mainstream sitcom for development
  • Take a step up to be in a position we’ve not been in before.

I’ve been attempting to push this rock uphill for around eight years or so now, I’m still a ways away from ‘making it’, but I’m still trying. I think that’s what differentiates the will-make-its from the never-wills, persistence. Not becoming disheartened and throwing in the towel. Acknowledging that failure is a huge part of scriptwriting and moving forward anyway.

Of course, there comes a point when you’re just being deluded. If you’ve attempted this for years then you need to have some tangible signs that you actually might have what it takes, otherwise yeah, move onto something else..!

Happily for me, I’ve had enough glimmers of ‘success’ that it makes sense to carry on. I’ve been inching in the right direction further and further each year. It might have taken me a couple of years to even get that first meeting with a production company, but now they’re a regular thing, I have an agent, I develop shows at all sorts of different places, I even worked with Graham freaking Linehan once.

SO!

My goal with this is to once again move up a level this year. To get something to the next stage. Now that doesn’t mean a whole series, but to have a pilot commissioned? That would be glorious. We (I write TV/Radio scripts with a partner) currently have a few things in good positions: there’s the radio sitcom we’re developing with an exec prod at the BBC, perhaps that might get the final thumbs up this year? There’s the TV sitcom that a prod company is attempting to attach talent to at the moment, and there’s a new cartoon series that (if it goes to series) we will hopefully be part of the writing team for. If any one of those three where to take a few lurches forward this year, or even come to fruition, I’d consider this to be a milestone year for my scriptwriting career.

Aside from that, we have a new sitcom we’re both really excited about and are developing with BBC 1 in mind (pitching for the mainstream, son!); so the aim for the first few months of this year is to shape that spec pilot and get it out there.

Aside from that (and continuing to push the other scripts we have bouncing around town) I want to look at other ways of getting us noticed that we haven’t really pushed at yet, to see if any of them make sense for us. So this would include ideas like writing a live ‘thing’ to put on, making a short film, writing a feature film script, jazz like that. Time to try something new and see how that helps.

Indie Author

  • Complete and publish all four parts of the ‘Fire’ mini-series.
  • Develop my planned ongoing novel series.
  • Basically, PUBLISH SOMETHING.

Even if I only manage to get one title out there by the end of the year, this will be a brilliant start and I’ll be able to count this goal as achieved. I see no reason why I won’t be able to make that happen . The only thing that could stop me is my own inherent lazy-ass-ness.

I have two other novellas which have first drafts completed, so I may well try to put one or both of them out too. Becoming an indie author this year is a big thing for me. Not only will it be creatively rewarding, but it gives me the chance to build a business, to see an extra revenue stream built through pure creativity.

Article Writing

Doctor Who Thing

  • Continue to develop Doctor Who Thing by posting regularly to site, and keeping the Twitter and Facebook pages updated.
  • Build to a point where it may be possible to monetize the site.
  • Have other people contribute posts on a regular basis. Yes, Thing should have a certain unique flavour, but for it to grow the site needs regular updates, and I probably won’t be able to take it all on myself. To have other writers will also help to develop Thing as a website rather than a glorified blog.

I am wondering exactly how this site can grow, and as what. It seems a site like Blogtor Who and the like have the market cornered for just posting news and reviews, so Thing has to offer more of what these other sites don’t. Articles with a strong, and at times daft, voice. Personality. Fun. Positivity.

 Articles

  • Continue to seek out other websites (or mags/papers/whatevs) to contribute to.

This is something I only decided to attempt in the last week or so, and I now already have a few articles in the works for Cult Box, and perhaps one other place, so that’s going nicely. So I need to carry that on, seek out other places (Den of Geek for eg) to write for. Ideally not only articles about Doctor Who..!… (Also ideally, to find a place or two that might even PAY me to write content..!..!..!)(MENTAL, I know..!)

Go Part Time

  • To build multiple revenue streams outside of the day job.

Unless something big happens, like me and my TV Comedy writing partner sell a series, or are hired to write multiple episodes of something, or that first Indie novel blows up to Hugh Howey levels,  then I’m not actually expecting to be in the position to go part-time by the end of the year. What I’m hoping for is that this year I will have laid the groundwork for it to be possible soon after. I’ll have started on the Indie Author career, perhaps have money coming in from article writing, be earning more from scriptwriting. Basically, that I’ll be in a position whereby it will soon be possible to scale back the dull day job because of regular money coming in from various different fields.

Now this would be wonderful, and is one reason why I’m attempting so many different things. Money coming in from only one place? I’m tied in. Even two. But small amounts regularly from four, five, six different places? That’s security and the opportunity to drop back from the nine-to-five office job a little; the chance to concentrate more on building those other creative sources of income. 

SO YES.

Multiple revenue streams, that’s the big goal.

That’s the hope.

Go hard at all the above areas and lay the foundation for going part-time (and eventually full-time) sooner rather than later.

How will I do?! Only God and Space Jesus (and perhaps one of those X-Men who can see the future) know. (Is there an X-Men person that can see the future..?)(Maybe I could Google that)(Other search engines are available) (Nah)(Can’t be bovved)

(The) End.

@MattStottWrites